Watpac secures $49m Melbourne Uni student accommodation contract

Watpac secures $49m Melbourne Uni student accommodation contract

Watpac will build a 13 level student accommodation building for the University of Melbourne after securing a $49 million contract.

The listed construction company will build the 123-135 Bouverie Street student accommodation centre in Carlton for Cedar Pacific, which will be operated by UniLodge.

The purpose-built facility will house 648 University of Melbourne students, complete with meeting lounges, a sky lounge, shared kitchens and dining spaces, and a gymnasium.

The $49 million contract is another win for the company which recently has come under fire by its major investor BESIX for its poor financial record.

The Belgium-based investing giant threatened to pull all financial support from Watpac after its takeover attempt of Watpac failed to get the required shareholder support at an investor meeting.

Matrin Monro, the managing director of Watpac, says he is pleased the University selected Watpac to build the new facility.

"Watpac's extensive experience in building education precincts and residential developments ensures the Group will deliver an exceptional facility for our clients Cedar Pacific and UniLodge," says Monro.

"Our Victorian business offers the right mix of skills to deliver a facility that meets the needs of those students who require a living and learning space at the University of Melbourne."

Photo provided by Watpac

Cedar Pacific chief executive officer Bernie Armstrong says the new building will be a departure from traditional student accommodation. Instead, the building will focus on emphasising the community within the building through a greater use of common areas.

In addition to constructing the new building, Watpac will undertake the refurbishment of an adjacent heritage building called the Art Deco. This building will be incorporated into the development, in addition to a ground level private outdoor space, mid-rise roof terrace and upper roof terrace which will offer students an additional lounge, barbecue areas and kitchen facilities.

Watpac expects the development to be completed by July 2019.

Shares in Watpac closed at $0.70 per share on Friday afternoon.

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